Workers' generosity worth tens of millions to charities
Employees in companies across the State volunteered over 210,000 hours to local groups and projects last year, a sharp rise on 2013.
And 48 of Ireland's largest companies contributed over €22m to support community groups and organisations in tackling social issues and causes.
The data was collated by Business in the Community Ireland, a network encouraging corporate social responsibility. Those companies have formed more than 7,000 community links and donated more than €22m in cash donations, in-kind donations and employee fundraising to local charities and groups.
Tina Roche, Business in the Community Ireland chief executive, said last year had been a challenging one for the charitable sector, and it was heartening to see employees support local issues.
"What is especially noteworthy is the sharp increase in volunteer hours by employees to local community groups," Ms Roche said.
"Employees want to work for companies that support their volunteering efforts and crucially want to work where their values align with their employer. Companies know that by engaging in tackling social issues it can drive employee engagement and also can attract and retain the best talent as employees now expect their employers to have a community strategy in place as standard."
National statistics show that over €10.5m was given in cash donations last year; €8.6m was contributed through in-kind donations and almost €3.5m was raised through employee fundraising.
Employees also volunteered over 212,000 hours to local groups and projects during the year, an increase from 162,000 in 2013.
Social issues that received the most support were health at almost €6.6mn, education programmes at €2.3m, children and youth projects at €2.28m and poverty programmes at €2.26m.
Business in the Community also pointed out that employees increasingly want to work with companies who have values that align with their own and also expect companies to engage with community groups as standard.
In addition, the networking group cited a report by Deloitte from 2013 which showed that the vast majority of HR executives believe that volunteerism has a positive impact on reputation and is valued by, and benefits, staff.
The companies which boasted the largest amount of employee volunteering included Intel Ireland, the ESB, IBM Ireland, Vodafone Ireland Foundation and KPMG.
The companies whose employees raised some of the biggest amounts include Bank of Ireland, Boots Retail Ireland, Tesco Ireland, Marks & Spencer Ireland and Microsoft Ireland.